The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Slumberland Records 
Fire Note Says: More polished sophomore album Belong still works well for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart!
Louder, bolder and brighter is a perfect description for the sophomore effort, Belong, from indie darlings The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. The band has polished their indie pop reverb up a bit with a much more straightforward musical approach that is quickly evident in the opening title track "Belong", that features some of the bands most ferocious guitar work yet that takes place right away 15 seconds into the track. This more by the numbers playing continues throughout the record regardless of tempo, as quiet ballads like "Anne With An E" still have a big embracing sound. The record is a true blend of the Smashing Pumpkins punch with a touch of The Cure's thoughtfulness but yet has a niceness factor to it like Teenage Fanclub. On the groups self-titled debut, much of their indie pop was layered with a touch of unpolished edges but Belong completely rounds those out with help from producer Flood and mixer Alan Moulder. These two guys are considered big time in the industry, as they have worked with the Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, U2, PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode, and countless others of alternative rock nation. This alone helps explain this larger sound for POBPAH but it also suggests the band might be interested in expanding their fanbase, album sales and media exposure. There is nothing wrong with that and it might come at some expense of losing earlier fans because their initial debut's innocent charm is somewhat missing but it has been replaced with some catchy as hell tracks and a confident swagger. Ultimately, Belong still plays very well and works even better upon repeat listens. The album may not be an improvement over their debut but its quality is pretty close, as The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart once again showcase a talent here that is not going away anytime soon and should provide some spectacular records in the future!
Key Tracks: "Belong", "Heart In Your Heartbreak", "Too Tough"
Bands With Similar Fire:
The Smashing Pumpkins
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart: Higher Than The Stars [EP] [Fire Note Says 9/28/09]
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart [Fire Note Review 2/4/09]
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Website
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-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony